When you are ready to declutter your home and start selling some of your items online, you’ll want to do a little bit of research, have a flexible timeline, and have a basic amount of technical savvy.
Today we are sharing our top 5 tips for selling your stuff online, and as a bonus, we’ve created a free download of How to Sell Your Items Online Cheat Sheet.
Are you Ready to Learn How to Sell Your Stuff Online? Read On.
Step One: Google “How to Sell xxx Online”
The first and easiest way to figure out how to sell your stuff online is to simply Google it.
You want to list your item on the site that has the biggest audience of potential buyers. For instance, if you were selling a set of golf clubs online, Ebay may be the best bet. But if you were selling custom hand-embroidered tea towels, Etsy is where you want to be. Selling antiques and collectibles often is easier on sites dedicated to those items.
The Big Guys: Ebay and Amazon
You know that in addition to being a tough task physically, downsizing your home is emotionally taxing. You now have your head in the game and know what to expect when it comes to the feelings you'll have.
To help you on your journey, I've created this Downsizing Your Home Emotional Roadmap just for you! Feel free to download it now.
What emotions have you experienced when moving or downsizing? Leave me a note in the comments section!
Mom, We Have to Talk: 5 Ways to Discuss Downsizing with Your Aging Parents
With free Discussion Cheat Sheet
Assess the Mess: How to Plan Out Downsizing Your Home
With free Room-by-Room Checklist
Help Organize Your Aging Parents (While They are Still Young and Healthy)
With free Conversation Guide
HOw do you downsize A HOUSE FULL OF STUFF?
In this post, I’ll share the 5 keys to success for a downsizing project. As a bonus, I’ve created this FREE Discussion Cheat Sheet. Click to download.
Ready to Start the Discussion about Downsizing a Lifetime of Stuff? Keep Reading
#1 Take it One Room at a Time
Don’t try to downsize the whole house at once: just take it one room at a time. For the first room, choose a room that has the least amount of items in it. That way when you’ve completed that room you have a small success under your belt and it will motivate you to keep going.
Be aware and respect the fact that there is emotional weight attached to many of the items in every house. You will probably hear “that belonged to my mother/grandparent” more times than you can count. Be patient and take breaks if you start to feel frustrated.
It will take some strict self-enforcement, but as you review items, stick to Yes or No, but never Maybe. If you allow Maybes, it becomes the “dumping ground” for things that you will have to review again. Anything that is a Yes should have a specific place, purpose, or plan for the new home. A No should be separated out into Donate or Discard.
Assess the Mess: How to Plan out Downsizing a Home.
with free printable Room-by-Room checklist
Mentally Prepare for Downsizing Your Home: 4 Tips to Control Your Emotions
with free printable Emotional Roadmap
5 Secrets for Solving Family Inheritance Disputes
#2 Choose your treasures instead of lamenting your losses
- “Let’s choose the items you want to treasure” instead of “What can we get rid of?”. Just the simple mind-shift can ease the emotional impact. Make this your mantra.
- “Donating these items to Habitat for Humanity (or whatever charity is close to your parents’ heart) will be such a blessing to someone.” Knowing that the things in your home will benefit someone else can make it easier to let go.
To read more about Organizing Your Aging Parents, click here.
#3 Make a Plan for Collections
- “Choose your one favorite piece to treasure”. It is important to give your aging parent some control in what they want to take with them. Moving to a new home is very stressful and can make your parents feel that they aren’t in control of their own lives anymore.
- “Let’s pack this one items to take with you, and we’ll create a photo album of the other items”. Photographing treasured pieces of a collection, printing them out and creating an album is a good way to preserve the memories.
- “Let’s start gifting these legacy items now”. For example, if a family member is going to be the eventual recipient of the antique tool collection, give it to them now. If your parent knows that their wishes are being carried out, it helps with the anxiety.
#4 Make a plan for Selling or Donating
Most families have the desire to sell some of the possessions, but aren’t sure where to start. You can try services like EBTH or estate sale companies. Always check with the Better Business Bureau and check references of any service you retain to sell your items. Some families choose to consign household items: be advised that there is quite a process involved. Another route is to list things on Craigslist, eBay, Facebook, etc., but be aware that the sheer number of items you’ll have to manage is overwhelming. The technology and selling items one-by-one is tedious and can be a barrier.
Related article: Help Organize Your Aging Parents While They Are Still Young + Healthy, includes Free Printable Checklist
Do a google search for local charities in your area to find out where you can donate items. You can find good homes for nearly all of the things in an average home. For example, local pet shelters and animal hospitals always accept sheets, towels, linens and laundry detergent. Local schools are happy to accept office supplies and food banks accept unopened food, food wrap, etc.
If your parents have collections that may have interest to a museum or school, consider donating the entire collection. For instance, a large collection of military memorabilia may find a new home in a local museum, military school, or veterans center.
Find charities that will pick-up donations at the home. Each group usually has their own guidelines about what they will and won’t accept, so take a minute to research them. Discuss with your parents whether they want to be there as items are being carried away or not.
5 Consider hiring a Professional Organizer or other estate professionals.
YOu're ready to get started downsizing.
Downsizing a lifetime of stuff can be an overwhelming and emotional task. Start early, be patient, and respect the emotional distress downsizing can have on your parents.
To help get you started, I’ve created this free Discussion Cheat sheet. Download and put it to good use!
its the most wonderful time of the year!
ready to learn back to school organization tips? Read on....
Let's get this thing going.
*The Logistical Challenges: Pull out your planner and get ready to schedule a million appointments and carpools.
* The Buying of the Things Never Ends: Just plan on selling a kidney in early August to cover your expenses. You’ll spend a whole month purchasing clothes, school supplies, backpacks, and post-it notes. The bleeding won’t stop until mid-September, if you’re lucky.
* All the Time with the Eating: Forget about Summer when you could pull off pop-tarts for breakfast, pool concession-stand nachos for lunch, and Chick-Fila for Dinner. You’re going to need to sling out at least 3 meals a day.
*The Soon-to-be Disaster Zone of a Home: Instead of a house strewn with wet swimming towels and Cheez-It boxes, instead you’ll have backpacks, soccer shin-guards, and decimated lunchboxes to deal with.
Let’s take a look at how you can break it down and survive.
Check out our Back to School Organizing board on Pinterest.
get your logistics on, yo.
You should set up doctor and dentist appointments, get prescriptions and medical authorization forms filled out, set up haircuts, sign the kids up for Fall sports and/or after school activities.
When you’ve got all of that done, start creeping on other parents you can potentially carpool with. Befriend them, asap. Keep telling yourself it isn't stalking if it's for the kids.
1. Pull out the school year calendar and put all the dates on your calendar before you make a single appointment. Make sure everyone in the family has access to this.
2. Download the Carpool Kids app (free). It allows you to swipe to add or remove drivers, riders and set locations. I’ve used it for 2 years now and cannot say enough good things about it!
3. Remember to take copies of any form the school will need (like the Medicine Release Form) with you to your pediatrician visit.
(Want more ideas? Follow our Organizing Your Family board.)
Sell One Kidney Now to Pay for Everything,
(save the Other Kidney to Pay for the Holidays)
- Have each kid review all last years’ clothes, shoes, backpacks, water bottles, and jackets to see what can be handed down or donated. Bag that stuff up immediately and get it to its new home. Once that is done, make your school shopping list.
- Have a school supply scavenger hunt within your house before you step foot in a Staples, Target or CVS. I know you have notebooks with 5 used pages sitting in your house somewhere. Get them out and use again this year.
All the time with the eating!
Start thinking about make-ahead breakfasts (if you can start a stockpile of frozen homemade breakfast burritos, you are my personal hero). Talk with the kids about what they want for lunch every day. Discuss your after school snack strategy with your shorties, otherwise they're gonna raid the Pringles and pudding cups daily.
Most importantly, figure out a game plan for getting dinner on the table every night. I strongly recommend planning every meal and snack out about 5-7 days in advance. That way you can hit the grocery store once a week.
( How I Created a Weekly Family Routine That Works for Our Family talks more about meal planning. You can also check out ourMeal Planning Pinterest board. )
- Start stocking up now on non-perishable foods (like juice boxes and snacks), as well as sandwich bags and napkins. Remember to buy extra ice-packs for lunch boxes: I guarantee last years are either leaky or MIA.
- Set the expectation that your kids pack their own lunches. I make the deal that I will shop for and prep the food, but the kids have to pack the lunchbox themselves. If you’re super cool and have the time, pack up a bunch of stuff on Sundays to get you through the week.
- Plan your dinners and grocery shop once a week. If you have a plan, there’s a better chance you won’t end up with Dominos at your door. See my in-depth blog post about creating a family routine by clicking here.
Set your house + car up to make life easier
- Create a drop zone for where all backpacks, sports bags and lunchboxes will go after school. The closer you can get it to the door, the better. Eliminate having bags strewn across the entire house. Check out my blog post on creating a garage mudroom/drop zone by clicking here.
- Set up a lunchbox packing “cockpit”. Make it easy to reach all the supplies you’ll need to pack a lunch. Set aside one drawer to house all the sandwich bags, Tupperware containers, napkins, etc.
- Stock your car with everything you could possible need. Granola bars, deodorant, a couple extra dollar bills, wet wipes, and a few extra water bottles will never go to waste. Check out our Car Organization board here.
Don’t be a Grinch, Enjoy the Season!
To make your life a little easier, I've created this free Back to School checklist.
Want to help organize your aging parents? Read on.
Start Talking Before It Gets Awkward
I Know Your Excuses...because they’re the Same Ones I Used
- For APs, NOT TALKING about things is the norm.
- Ditto that for many families. And if you come from the Midwest (like me), we truly excel at not talking about things!
- Talking about Later Life Plans means eventually talking about Death. And nobody likes to think about that.
- There is legal paperwork involved and it’s too complicated, expensive, confusing, and/or overwhelming to start.
- There’s some sort of family discord and somebody will definitely object, be offended and/or hurt by the efforts to discuss Later Life.
- Everyone assumes that the adult child living closest to Mom or Dad will take care of it all.
- Money. Discussing financial plans for Later Life is awkward at best, taboo at worst.
Suck it Up, Buttercup.
Timing Is Everything
(aka Don’t Start Talking at Thanksgiving Dinner)
Emphasize Your Role as an Advocate
End the Conversation with a Plan, No Matter How Small
For example, you could say “Next time we talk, I’ll bring along a printed copy of a blank Living Will for us to discuss”. You also want to make sure you have an agreed-upon plan if your loved ones can no longer make decisions or in the event in an emergency.
A great resource is this free conversation guide, created by A Place for Mom.
What’s the Plan for All the Stuff in the House.
- Sterling Silver (but not silver plated items)
- Coin, stamp, artwork, gun, crystal or other valuable collections
- Truly unique, high-end antiques that are in pristine condition
- Family photos
- Sentimental items (christening & wedding gowns, military memorabilia, etc.)
The best way to describe this is to quote this article from Forbes magazine: “Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff”. Start planning now for what will become of:
- “Brown” furniture
- Most mass-produced china and glassware
- Organs (the musical instrument, not your innards)
- Greeting cards, magazines and newspapers with no historical significance
- Old Tupperware, appliances with frayed cords, and cookbooks
- Flower delivery vases
- Plastic souvenir cups and empty Cool Whip bowls. Trust me: your aging parents have these.
- Your school papers, textbooks, and every drawing you ever did. Keep your diploma, let the rest of it go.
- 80% of the stuff stored in the garage
- Clothing that hasn't been worn in decades
Want to help your aging parents with clearing out all the stuff in the house?
Clutter Puts the Rage in Garage
The 3 Commandments of Closet Organization
Four Important Legal Papers
There are 4 important legal documents you should ensure your aging parent has.
- Will: An up-to-date Will is an important document.
- Living Will (also called Advance Health Care Directive)
- Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care:
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances:
- Organ Donation registration
- Final Disposition Instructions (funeral and burial wishes)
- Digital Legacy Plan (learn more about what this ishere)
How can you find out what documents you need in your state?
Want more Advice on Helping your Aging Parents?
They have all the papers in order! Now what?
You've started the process of later life planning!
Coming soon...Later Life Planning Guide, workshops, and one-on-one coaching
Want to see how i CREATED MY FAMILY ROUTINE? kEEP READING...
Who's running the show at your house?
I bet you're on "survival mode" a lot, Right?
- My spouse works and he travels for work. His travel isn't on a regular basis, so sometimes he is home and can help out, other times it is just me running the show.
- I'm transistioning from being a WAHM to becoming a new small business owner. I'm self-employed, so I create my own schedule. But I now have all the resposnisiblities of being the WAHM, with the added bonus of trying to get a business off the ground. Festive, right?!?
- We have one shorty who goes to school, after-school sports practice, tutoring, and everything that goes along with being a middle schooler.
- Our whole famliy has a busy calendar of volunteering commitments, carpools, as well as a full social calendar.
- We are always on the run! And we only have ONE shorty: I know that those of you with 2,3,4, and 5 have an exponentialy difficult schedule.
This is how we were rolling
Something had to give
When I finally stopped blubbering, I knew I had to do something to fix this mess. If you know you need to change your life, you naturally consult Oprah, right? That was my first instinct, too! Unfortunatley, neither Oprah or Gayle were available to change my life for me, so I had to do the next best thing: I went to Pinterest.
After lots of reading up on how to manage my family's time and thinking about how I wanted our schedules to look, I decided to commit to A Weekly Family Routine. This means carving out 2 hours once a week (I do Sundays) to dedicate to planning out the whole week in advance.
Two hours? On a sunday? Good luck with that.
NO: it doesn't have to be on a Sunday. If you have a couple hours of downtime on Tuesday morning, do your Family Routine then. If you have time while the kids are at volleyball practice, do it then. Just figure out when you have the time and do it. Sunday works for me.
NO: it doesn't have to be 2 hours all at once. I mentally split the project time into two portions: Logistics and Meal Planning.
I often find that I have one hour free on Saturday (while waiting at sports practice), which is when I bang out the Meal and Grocery Plan. Then on Sunday morning/early afternoon, I knock out all of the logisitical stuff.
Remember: I am not the Boss of You. YOU DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!!
so you do...what exactly??
What are these supplies you speak of?
- Iphone. We keep our work schedules, appointments, etc. digitally, so I need my phone to see what's on the plate for the week.
- My paper planner. I'm old-school and still use a paper planner. If you can survive with just digital planning, I applaud you, but that's not my jam. I need to write it all down and see how it is going to play out.
- Paper Family calendar, if that is how you roll. I don't, but if you do, get it down off the wall and show it who is the Boss.
- Pencils, pretty colored gel pens, post-its and binder clips. That is just how I do. I keep a pencil case in my car with all these supplies so I can plan on the run, if needed. I just heard you say "Nerd Alert", by the way.
- The Grocery List pad. I have a custom one, which is gorgeous, but I also love the All Out Of grocery list from Knock Knock. OrganizeHer also makes a great product, and they are availble at Target. Doesn't matter what you use, just have something you can write on.
- Meal Planner Notepad. Again, I'm old school. I write out the Meal Plan on a piece of paper and it is posted in the kitchen for quick reference. I love the Knock Knock product. It can be on the prettiest paper or a sheet of notebook paper: who cares as long as you have a plan!
Supplies: check. Now what?
- Work and travel schedules for parents. If your shorty has an afterschool job, add in that too.
- Afterschool activities. Practices, tutors, whatever.
- Carpool. Want to change your life? Start using the free carpool-kids.com/Carpool Kids app. It's a free app that lets you and other parents set up who is driving which kids to what activity, all within the app. No more Sunday carpool text chains from Hell!
- Social plans for everyone, including babysitter needs.
- Cleaning the house. Whether it's scheduling your cleaning lady or figuring out who is going to scrub the toliets and when, make a plan to get your crib clean. Don't be nasty.
- Date or Famliy Night. Sometimes that just means frozen pizza and Netflix, but who cares.
- Errands, including our big ones...Target and Groceries. If you're a famliy of more than 3, I'll guess you have a Costco/Sams/BJ's run once a week or so, too.
- What's for Dinner every day. I rarely plan breakfasts, and lunch is usually leftovers. When planning dinners, I take into account practices, work schedules, etc.
- Grocery list
- Cookbooks, Magazines, and/or Pinterest Boards
- Grocery Store sales flyer (which I access digitally at our grocery store, Harris Teeter)
get your game face on: now you have to plan it all out
Here is how I build-out our week:
- Work schedule and appointments come first. Those are the non-negotiables (aka make or cost me money), so they get priority.
- All after-school activites get scheduled next. Those activities cost me money too, so I am making sure I take care of them.
- Carpool is next, closely followed by any babysitting needs. *Note: I usually try to book my sitter as soon as I put an event on the calendar, to ensure I don't forget until the last minute. The Sunday Rountine has saved me many times from forgetting to book a sitter.
- Errands and Cleaning. My biggest tip is to schedule errands during downtimes. For example, on the day I drive carpool to a 1.5 hour practice, I drop the kids, hit the post office, library, and Target (including Starbucks) and get back to practice in time. The other way to roll is to just bite the bullet and do it all in one day. Again, do what works for you.
- Groceries fall in last. That is flexible, depending on our Meal Plan. I personally shop at two grocery stores: one I go in and the other I place my order ahead of time and drive through. The drive through service at Harris Teeter is the BEST time saver in the world. I highly, highly recommend it. The $5 it costs will be the best $5 you spend all day.
COngrats: you now have a plan of attack for the week.
Now you gotta share the love!
- My Work calendar: these are tasks specific to my business. For example, I might schedule "Write blog post" on Tuesday from 2-4pm, but this isn't vital for my family to know. It's just to keep me on task.
- C+C calendar: (the C's are my spouse and my initals). These are schedule items that my husband needs to see and/or be aware of. So all household appointments, my off-site jobs (for safety), etc. I do also add any household projects, like "shop for helath insurance" or "car in for service", so my spouse knows what household projects are in progress .
- Family calendar: all three of us see this. This includes all afterschool activites, carpools, social calendar and babysitter, and school dates. My shorty's school sends out a newsletter with test dates, so I put those dates into the Family calendar.
Get your fam on board, toot sweet.
How's that all working for you, you ask?
Ok: not 100%. You're going to forget to schedule things. There will be push-back from the famliy about "the crazy schedule Mom made", and maybe more. But trust me when I say: it's way better than it was before, and it will only get better as you keep doing it. The key is to not give up. Listen, we all know the Moms usually run the show at home, so if you have the job, OWN THE DANG JOB.
I own that weekly family routine. you CAN own your family routine, too.
You can do this too! You already run the show...just make it easier on yourself!
Want help getting started with your weekly Family routine?
Have questions? Let's hear what you have!!
3 Ways to Organize Your Life + Time with the Erin Condren Life Planner
Back To Schoool
Before & After
Closet Organization Ideas + Hacks
Downsizing Your Home
Family Schedule Logistics
Garage DIY Organization
Later Life Planning
Organizing Aging Parents
Selling Your Stuff
Weekly Family Routine